Watch CBS News

House January 6 select committee subpoenas former Justice Department official Jeffrey Clark

Trump officials deposed but refuse to comply
House January 6 committee hopes to depose former Trump officials this week, some refuse to comply 01:39

The House select committee investigating the January 6 attack on the Capitol is sharpening its focus on former President Trump, sending a subpoena Wednesday to a former Justice Department official allegedly near the heart of the former president's efforts to overturn the election results. 

The committee said it wanted records and testimony from Jeffrey Clark who attempted to use Department of Justice resources to delay the certification of 2020 election results, according to a report released last week by the Senate Judiciary Committee.

"The Select Committee needs to understand all the details about efforts inside the previous administration to delay the certification of the 2020 election and amplify misinformation about the election results," committee Chairman Bennie Thompson said in a statement. "We need to understand Mr. Clark's role in these efforts at the Justice Department and learn who was involved across the administration." 

Capitol Breach Subpoenas
In this Sept. 14, 2020, file photo, Jeff Clark, then-Assistant Attorney General for the Environment and Natural Resources Division, speaks during a news conference at the Justice Department in Washington.  Susan Walsh / AP

Clark is believed to be central to the efforts of the Trump administration to delay the certification of the election results and convince the public without evidence that President Biden had not legitimately won the election. Clark was in contact with Mr. Trump in the days leading up to January 6, according to the Senate Judiciary committee's report. 

The report found that as an assistant attorney general, Clark proposed urging state legislators in Georgia to delay the certification of the election there. The committee also said he pleaded with Jeffrey Rosen, the acting attorney general at the time, to hold a press conference and say "there was corruption" in the election despite no evidence there was.

A source familiar with the situation confirmed to CBS News that former acting Attorney General Jeffrey Rosen on Wednesday sat for an interview with the January 6 select committee. It lasted around 8 hours. Politico first reported the interview was taking place.    

A lawyer for Clark declined to comment. 

The House select committee investigating the attack on the Capitol is scheduled to hold depositions this week with key Trump strategist Steve Bannon, Mr. Trump's former chief of staff Mark Meadows, deputy chief of staff Dan Scavino and Kashyap Patel, who was in a prominent Defense Department role on January 6. 

Lyndon Brentnall, who was one of the 11 people subpoenaed, told CBS News that he turned over requested documents to the panel on Tuesday. "All the requested documents and communications requested by the subpoena were handed in," he said in a statement. Brentnall's company, RMS Protective Services, provided security for the January 6 rally on the Ellipse and was listed on the permit paperwork. 

A lawyer for Bannon last week indicated that the former senior White House advisor would not comply with the subpoena unless forced by a court to do so. It's not clear whether the others will comply. 

But the panel is prepared to go to file contempt charges if anyone doesn't comply with their subpoenas. 

"The committee is going to be working very diligently and very quickly to make sure we enforce subpoenas," said Congresswoman Liz Cheney, the vice chair of the committee. "In general,  people are going to have to appear, or you know, we will move contempt charges against them."

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi created the House select committee earlier this year to investigate the January 6 attack, when thousands of Trump supporters descended on the Capitol as Congress counted the electoral votes, a largely ceremonial final step affirming Mr. Biden's victory. Lawmakers were sent fleeing amid the riot, which led to the deaths of five people and the arrests of hundreds more. Mr. Trump, who encouraged his supporters to "walk over" to the Capitol during the Stop the Steal rally, was impeached by the House one week later for inciting the riot but was later acquitted by the Senate

Nikole Killion contributed to this report. This article has been updated to reflect that the subpoena was sent Wednesday.

View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.